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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 6, Number 10

October 1993

October Membership Meeting
Wed., October 6, 1993 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting


 

MEMBERSHIP MEETING

We had yet another healthy turnout at our regular membership meeting, as is our habit when we hold auctions. The auction was the main event so regular business got wrapped up quickly.

President Larry Nakata made two announcements of significance (to me, anyway). The first was to show a plaque commemorating the recognition of ACCent as "Outstanding Local Numismatic Publication" (this, to a round of applause). The second was for the real prize, namely that yours truly was recently married (also to a round of applause). Full Mint Red's1 alter ego is now a honest woman. This latter announcement was greeted by married guys wearing grins and saying: "We thought you were smarter than that!!"2

Last year, when Bill D'Atri missed a meeting which coincided with his bride's birthday, the same guys said (again with knowing grins): "What kind of reason is that?"

In any case, thanks to all for the recognition.

DOOR PRIZE

The door prize was a 1943 Mercury Dime. It was won by Brady Young who may be a new member. He's new to me anyway. Congrats, Brady.

RAFFLE PRIZE

The raffle prize was a slabbed (ANACS) 1834 l/2« in EF condition. King of ACC raffles, Larry Nakata, won the prize which was one nice piece of copper.

MEMBERSHIP PRIZE

Bob Luetzow won the membership prize which was an off center struck Lincoln Cent of unknown date. Unknown, because the date wasn't struck. It looked uncirculated from where I was sitting.

MEMBERSHIP INTEREST PRIZE

Again, Larry Nakata won the $25 pot, which was $20 net to Larry since he kicked in $5 for next month.

1 See "Confessions of a Coin Club Widow" from the January issue.

2 Rod Meade commented during the break: "So you got married... We're even."

 

Coin Show Pitch

"Pull out your wallet and lay it down on the table." So said a good friend of mine back in '83 wLen I first walked up to counter of his long since defunct book and record store with an armload of (what else?) books and records. Old timers may recall his shop "The Used Book Exchange" during its heyday on Fourth Avenue.

The same may as well be said to members out there who will be showing up at the Semi-Annual Sears Mall Coin Show the weekend of October 2-3. This includes not only exhibitors and potential buyers but potential sellers. More than once has my wallet been lighter at the end of the show than at the beginning - having spent more than I collected in sales. Lord knows, if you want to sell coins, you will find buyers congregating at one of our coin shows.

Mind, if you mean to sell and NOT rent a table you had best be selling only to them that paid the rent (i.e., the exhibitors). No freeloading, please. In any case, hopes are high that brisk sales will transpire this weekend.

Now that silver is significantly higher priced, and is thus less of a bargain, more people are interested in buying. Can't wait for six-dollar silver, or $450 gold!!

Not that you gotta spend money to show up. Just basically shoatin' the bull is greatly appreciated, too, 'specially if sales aren't so brisk. And don't forget, hustling our club is a prime function of these coin shows, so SHOW UP and help promote the club!

 

November Auction Postponed 'til Christmas Meeting

The November coin Auction is postponed until the Christmas Potluck. This is usually the best attended meeting of the year, so it seemed a good idea to hold our next auction then. New members are advised to participate. So are some of the established members we haven't seen for awhile. The reason? Only that the club really outdoes itself in putting on a great party each year. Last year the spread was truly impressive.

A week later, I happened to attend a similar gathering put on by the local Gem and Mineral Society (aka the "Rockhounds") which had about one hundred in attendance. You couldn't have figured this out from the banquet, which was miserly compared to what we laid out for our modest group of fifty.

Those feeling lucky can expect a truly fabulous coin being offered for the raffle. Last year then soon-to-be-President Larry Nakata won a nice Fugio Cent (I know because I saw it just the other day). We can count on Paul Wheeler to purchase another nice piece for this year's Christmas raffle.

Incidentally, this seems like a good topic for discussion for the October meeting: What shall we offer for the raffle? Your two cents worth may result in a prize of similar denomination.

If you're more long-winded, your five cents worth may result in a V-nickel (or a Bust half-dime). If you're even more long-winded... Well, you get the idea.

To sum up: we'll have food, a great raffle, a greater auction, and no doubt, there'll be plenty of trade goods (not to mention Trade Dollars). What more could you ask for? If you think of anything, share it with us at the October meeting.

 

Lots to Consider at the October Meeting

By "lots," I mean plenty. For auction lots, you'll have to wait for the Christmas potluck. On the off chance you don't read this Newsletter cover-to-cover, I have summarized below a Meeting Agenda of sorts. This is a short list; for all the details and implications see the "Letter From the Prez" elsewhere in this rag. Here it is:

A REPORT FROM THE TREASURER.

It seems some have rumbled, grumbled, or otherwise commented that the club is accumulating too much money. Maybe so, only our treasurer knows for sure. Count on Paul Wheeler to present an annual budget that will outline inflows and outgoes.

AUCTION OVERHAUL

It further seems that we've not been selling a lot of the material offered at auctions, and that what does sell tends to be the low-end stuff. While this is hardly a new problem, we may, if we put our heads together, come up with new solutions. Come and tell us what it takes to get you to spend significant amounts of money at our auctions. Answering this question effectively can only make our auctions better and more fun for everyone.

COMMEMORATIVE PRESENTATION

Finally, Vice Prez "Lone Wolf Mike McKinnon will be presenting a video program on U.S. Commemorative Coins.

O.K., the list could have been presented a little more briefly, but that's what happens when nobody edits the Editor,

 

A Letter From the "Prez"

Your club officers have now been in place these past six months. This is a good time to review and evaluate the overall performance of our club.

The increase in the size of our club membership is a good reflection of club performance. Still.... there are concerns that I would like to address.

First, some club members have expressed concerns that our programs are creating large surpluses of monies. There are concerns that the club is becoming too "money oriented." I asked our club Treasurer, Paul Wheeler, to put together a spreadsheet analysis of our yearly budget showing the club's operating expenses, the monies derived from our membership dues & programs, and an analysis of our club's checkbook balance.

Paul provided this financial analysis at our E-Board meeting on September 15th. Those people attending the E-Board meeting carefully reviewed Paul's report. The E-Board asked Paul to give this same presentation to the club membership at our October 6th club meeting. For those members having concerns about club finances, I would strongly recommend you attend the October 6th meeting. Paul presented a very effective analysis that should hopefully answer these concerns.

Second, the results of our last three club auctions have been meeting with mixed Success. Presently, we hold auctions every two months involving 100 lots of coins.

While the three auctions have been bringing in good attendance at our meetings, only 55% of the lots are selling. Many of the lots involve coins in the under $20 price bracket. Only a few legitimate mail bids are being submitted from outside our club.

Your E-Board discussed and came up with a number of ideas for modification of our club auction, These ideas will be presented at our October 6th club meeting for discussion and vote by the overall membership.

The E-Board subsequently decided to hold our next coin club auction at our Christmas Potluck Party in December. Submittal of coin lots for the December auction can be made at the October E-Board meeting. I encourage our members to attend the October 6th club meeting so that we may vote on the new December auction format.

Meantime, Bill D'Atri has graciously volunteered his services as our new auctioneer....and that offer is especially accepted by yours truly.

Finally, more education sessions are needed for our club meetings. With the E-Board's decision on a December club auction, this allows room for education sessions in the October and November meetings. Mike McKinnon is arranging for a nice VHS presentation on "American Commemoratives" at our October 6th club meeting.

Our November club meeting will have yours truly give a talk on the Hawaiian coinage minted in 1883 by Charles Barber. My talk will focus around the history that led to the decision to mint these coins by the rulers of Hawaii and what subsequently ensued. I am planning to give a great talk rich in Hawaiian history. The November meeting will also feature a short VHS presentation on the ANA 1993 Baltimore Convention highlights.

The October and November club meetings are also a good opportunity for club members to show off their collections, trade, and buy coins from each other.

Mike McKinnon needs volunteers to give such talks and presentations for future club meetings.

We also need article material from our membership for our club's newsletter. I would like to encourage our members to VOLUNTEER.

Six months sure went by quickly for your club officers with a lot of activity. Upcoming on October 2nd & 3rd will be our coin show at the Sears Mall. Hope to see you there.....

 

Nuthin' To Do with Numismatics
(a.k.a. "Levi's Lode")

Steve Levi, who contributed the August "Bingle" article, has consented to provide yet more material to our newsletter (on disk no less!). When he gave me the disk, I thanked him, saying I appreciated getting such a lode of writing3 in such a convenient form (and well written, as you will soon see).

As far I have been able to surmise, all the stories are Alaskan, but few are numismatic. So What? We've run non-numismatic articles before, and will continue to do so - especially now that we have the Lode to mine.

WHISKEY PRICES IN TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY NOME

According to the Nome Chronicle of August 11,1900:

You can tell a camp's development by the price of drinks. Four bits means recent occupation, unsettled conditions and the presence of 1/2 barrel which has just come over the trail. Two bits means a regulation boom is on, that the tenderfeet are plenty and that regular communication with the outside is established. Next drop is for three and a half. Not a sign of slump but shows first excitement is passed— the town is getting down to business basis. Fifteen cents means the business basis reached, court and school are going, claim-jumping has become bad form, plug hats are tolerated and faro banks have moved upstairs. Any further decline, however, is a danger sign. Two for a quart whiskey is a sure sign of deterioration and 5 [cent] beer mean[s] the stampede has started for the next digging.

AIRLINERS ABUSE WILDLIFE

On April 1, 1987, an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 had a mid-air collision with a fish. According to the Anchorage Daily News, an eagle with a fish in its talons was flying at an angle across the Juneau airport runway as the airliner was taking off. Just before the two flight paths intersected, the eagle dropped the fish. The fish and the airliner collided in midair. The eagle escaped but the "fish, species unknown, was presumed dead." The fact that the incident occurred on April Fool's Day led some to believe that the story had been faked. It was not.

The article also revealed that there had been a collision between a moose and airplane in Cordova a decade earlier. "The moose collision," was different, as the newspaper clearly stated, for it "occurred on the ground."

ENTERPRISING WIFE UNAPPRECIATED

In May of 1953, the Alaskan Reporter stated that a woman in Mt. View shot a moose in her back yard. Her husband was furious even though he was not home at the time. He was hunting for moose in the Chugach Range and came home without one.

ENTERPRISING RAVENS UNAPPRECIATED

On Easter Day, 1991, the ravens in Juneau poached about 600 eggs from the annual Easter Egg hunt. Doing a last minute check just before the children were to be released, the organizers of the hunt were horrified to discover that half of their eggs had been stolen - including some hard plastic ones. While the children hunted for those that were left, ravens were seen gorging on their stolen repast and "popping open plastic eggs that contained candy."

 

3 That's L-O-D-E", said I.

1895 Morgan Dollar Revisited

1895 Morgan Silver Dollar Obverse

Past issues have seen pieces on both the subject coin and John Jay Ford. The Ford interview, exhaustively synopsized in two consecutive issues, amply demonstrated him as among a select group of Numismatists to Share Beers With. The Morgan Dollar article reprinted speculation that some existing 1895 Philadelphia Dollars (thought to have survived exclusively as proofs) might have started life as business strikes. Well lo and behold, I was flipping through Q. David Bowers' landmark work Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States and found an excerpt from a interview with John J. himself which describes a run-in with what he called no less than a non-proof 1895.

"Were business strikes made?" asks Q. David Bowers in his discussion:

Almost immediately from the time of coinage the 1895 dollar was recognized as a Proof-only issue. In The Curio, December 1398...Dealer Charles Steigerwalt noted this: "Dollars of 1895 from the Philadelphia Mint are only found in proof sets." Similarly...in The Numismatist, June 1898, George W. Rice noted this: "In 1895, Proofs only, numbering less than 1,000, were struck."

Bowers goes on to say that it was prevailing knowledge as early as 1898 that no business strikes were made and that it must be presumed this information came from the Mint itself.

At the time the Mint was actively marketing Proof sets and was dealing regularly with collectors. The picture is somewhat complicated by the official report by the Mint that year that 12,000 business strikes were made. Bowers, however, could find nothing in the literature that disputes the contemporary belief that Proofs only were made. This apparent unanimity lead him to think

that the 12,000 "business strike" 1895 dollars consisted of a ledger entry for something else. The delivery date of (the 12,000) was given as June 1895 which coincides with the end of the 1894-1895 fiscal year. Could it have been that 12,000 left-over 1894 business strikes were delivered in June 1895 to be sure that the fiscal year data were correct? The answer may never be known with certainty.

Stuart Mosher, in The Numismatist, July 1955, recalled he had seen at least two Philadelphia 1895 business strikes in uncirculated condition some time in the 1930's. Since impaired Proofs are known, conclusive evidence of a business strike would involve one in a condition high enough to allow examination of its original surfaces, perhaps AU or better. John Jay Ford claims to have inspected one such coin.

Bowers reprinted this claim offering the story shown below from a May 1992 interview with Ford. He prefaced the excerpt saying: "The following coin, if confirmed, might be an exception to the view generally held by modern students of the series.":

At the ANA show in Denver in 1963, Harry J. Forman brought to me an 1895 silver dollar in absolutely Mint State. It had no trace of a Proof surface, it wasn't circulated; it wasn't an alteration, because I had access to a Bausch and Lomb binocular microscope--at the time I was into detecting counterfeits... I know I was convinced it was a Philadelphia Mint '95 absolutely Mint State unaltered. I didn't have the access to a Proof Dollar to compare the dies. But I remember I wanted to buy the coin in the worst way, and the guy wouldn't sell it.4 This went on and on for about two days. The guy wouldn't budge, wouldn't sell it. I think at the time the '95 silver dollar in Proof was not selling for huge money. I can't really remember what it was selling for, $2,500 or something like that.... This is not hearsay, I actually held the coin, I tried to buy it. And I offered the guy practically what a proof was selling for. It was a strong offer in those days.

Well, I don't know what to think about all this, but it won't (as usual) prevent me from speculating on the matter. For instance, one might think that since the late 1970's there have been three opportunities (one for each price boom) to sell a Philadelphia 1895 business strike at auction which would not only make news but would probably also net well over six figures. On the other hand, if you could afford to privately buy one, you might want the coin more than a cool hundred grand.

4 In the earlier reprinted interview Ford confessed to having little interest in collecting "Federal Coinage." I guess he mode an exception in this case)

 


The Anchorage Coin Club

Club Officers

Board of Directors

Editor

DUES

To save costs, members not responding to renewal notices within 3 months will be considered inactive.

The Anchorage Coin Club is a non-profit organization formed to provide information, education, and a meeting place for individuals having an interest in numismatics.

Correspondence Address: Anchorage Coin Club, P.O. Box 230169, Anchorage, Alaska 99523